The SmartyPig Blog

BBVA Compass And SmartyPig Announce Strategic Alliance

SmartyPig: BBVA Compass

This morning we announced in a press release our new strategic alliance with BBVA Compass, the 15th largest bank in the United States and the American arm of one of the biggest banks in the world, BBVA. Understanding that solid footing and a great reputation are the most important aspects of any financial services company in these challenging times, the decision to work with BBVA Compass was an easy one, as they provide both. Not only that, but BBVA can handle the scale of the considerable growth we’re experiencing, while quickly giving us access to millions of customers who have yet to learn of SmartyPig, as well as the global markets we are planning to enter. Simply put: We could not be more excited.

On August 1, 2010, with your permission, SmartyPig and West Bank will securely transfer your customer data and funds on deposit in your SmartyPig savings account from West Bank, our current bank services provider, to BBVA Compass. In order to keep your SmartyPig account active and your savings goals current, you must log into your account and authorize this transfer of funds and the opening of a BBVA Compass savings account. Please note that your funds will remain FDIC insured at all times to the fullest extent provided by law. All things being equal, aside from authorizing your new BBVA Compass savings account, you’ll likely never notice a difference… Oh, except for the simple fact that having a powerhouse like BBVA behind us will lead to a much better SmartyPig experience for you, as we begin to roll out some exciting new products and features over the next 90 days. All of which are designed to help you get the most money for your money.

So if you are an existing customer, what do you need to do?
Simply log into your account now, to authorize the transfer of funds in your West Bank savings account to your new BBVA Compass savings account. It will take fewer than 60 seconds.

What if I don’t have a SmartyPig account but am thinking about opening one?
Not a problem. All new customers will be asked to authorize the transfer of funds from their West Bank savings account to their new BBVA Compass savings account during the registration process.

When we began to build SmartyPig some three years ago, saving was at an all-time low, living on credit was a way of life, and we were nearing the dawn of an economic meltdown. And while the waters are far from calm, individuals and families the world over understand better than ever that we now have to be wise with our money and we have to make it work for us harder than ever. With BBVA behind us, we can help spread the message far and wide about not just creating goals, but the true value that exists of sticking with and finally reaching those goals.

For more information, please visit the BBVA Compass site here:
http://www.bbvacompass.com/notice/smartypig/

Thanks for being a part of this terrific adventure. If I can ever be of personal assistance or you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. And as always, best of luck with your goals!

Sincerely,

Mike Ferrari, Co-Founder
mferrari@smartypig.com
@mferrari


******  June 9, 2010 – IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW ******

Fellow SmartyPigers,

Since many of you have asked about the rationale and motivation on our move from West Bank to BBVA Compass, and in the spirit of transparency, let me provide some insight on the process we’ve followed.

First of all, we’ve known for some time that SmartyPig would outgrow West Bank and have spent the past six months looking for a new banking partner. How did we know that we needed a new banking partner when West Bank was doing a great job and was such a perfect banking partner? West Bank told us.

Let me try to explain what happened in lay-persons terms. When we began this venture with West Bank we (West Bank and SmartyPig) knew if we were successful, we would outgrow West Bank. From a risk management standpoint, it is not prudent for West Bank to have a significant portion of its deposit base from one source. When the SmartyPig related deposit base passed 10 percent of West Bank’s deposits, we began discussing alternative banking alliances.

Our criteria for a new banking partner were pretty simple. First of all we needed a banking partner that had the size to accommodate SmartyPig deposits today and for the foreseeable future. Second, we wanted to choose a partner with a healthy balance sheet. Third we looked for synergy – a bank that embraced innovation and would welcome SmartyPig as a partner.

So for much of the next four months (and 62,000 miles in the air), we spent time visiting executives at almost every large U.S. bank. Without disclosing details, I can assure you that the range of discussions we had was amazing. Some banks understood SmartyPig, some didn’t. Some understood innovation and some wouldn’t recognize innovation if it bit them. It was quite an experience, to say the least.

During this time, West Bank commented in it’s quarterly reports that due to the success and expected growth of SmartyPig, SmartyPig was working to find another banking alliance by the end of 2010.

While there were a number of contenders to become our banking partner, in the end there was one clear choice that met and exceeded all of our criteria – BBVA Compass. They were our first choice and we really hoped we could consummate a deal with them.

BBVA Compass is a U.S. based bank headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama and have been in continuous operation since 1964. They have approximate 65 times the deposits of West Bank and have a parent company headquartered in Madrid, Spain with deposits of over $765B in deposits and 48M clients. Even with all of the turmoil in the U.S. and Spanish markets, they have never received any bailout from any government, and operate with a strong balance sheet.  For those of you still concerned about the security of your deposits, all customer funds are FDIC insured at BBVA Compass the same as they were at West Bank.

Innovation is a hallmark of BBVA Compass, both in the U.S. and worldwide. I’ve been to their headquarters in Birmingham and Madrid, and am extremely impressed with their focus on innovation. In all of our discussions they embraced the concept of SmartyPig and have been as supportive as any potential partner could of our new thoughts and ideas. No, we’re not content to sit back and let SmartyPig stay as is: we’ve got lots of new ideas, features, and functions that we’ll be rolling out this year – stay tuned.

With our decision made, we just spent the past few months formalizing our relationship and making final plans to transition our deposits from West Bank to BBVA Compass. On Monday we formally announced the relationship and have received very positive press.  SmartyPig customers have until July 19th to opt-in to the transfer of funds. At that point anyone who hasn’t opted in will have all funds plus interest returned to the bank where your funds originated. If you’re not sure or want more time to decide – choose no (effectively opting out of the transfer) and you’ll have full access to your account. At such time as you’re comfortable with the transfer, login and change your option before July 19th.

This transition (besides the opt-in process) will be transparent to our customers. The only change will really just be where the deposits sit.

My only sadness in this post is that we’re leaving a great partner – West Bank. They’ve been there with us from the very beginning from the time that Mike and Jon had the vision of SmartyPig sketched out on a few sheets of paper. They’ve incubated us, supported us, guided us, and have been great partners and friends.

So as we move forward I welcome your comments, challenges and requests for more information. As always my contact info is public – email: bob@smartypig.com and cell: 512-636-5200.

Best,
Bob Weinschenk, CEO
bob@smartypig.com

  • Shonnece

    Just in case anyone else was wondering…I did a quick search on the BBVA Compass on FDIC’s website…here’s the great info! I will be consenting to the transfer momentarily!

    The financial institution about which you have inquired, Bbva Bancomer Usa (FDIC Cert: 18255), is no longer doing business under that name. The active successor institution is Compass Bank (FDIC Cert: 19048).

    Compass Bank (FDIC Cert: 19048) is FDIC Insured.

    Compass Bank has been FDIC insured since March 2, 1964.
    It was established on March 2, 1964.
    Its main office (headquarters) is located at:
    15 South 20th Street
    Birmingham, Alabama 35233
    County of Jefferson

    Compass Bank has 828 Domestic Branches (Offices) located in 7 state(s) and 1 Foreign Offices.

  • http://www.sugarfixjewelry.com Kate

    Will there be any strange fees or service charges added?

  • Derek

    Great to see all of these updates continuing to come from SmartyPig! The pig keeps growing and getting smarter! Oink.

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @Kate,

    Great question. No new strange fees or service charges. Our plan is to continue to innovate and bring value to our customers each and every day as it relates to smart saving and smart spending. And I’m sure the next question will be how will this affect the interest rate. Although we reserve the right to change interest rates at anytime, we have no intention of changing our interest rate now or on August 1 when BBVA Compass becomes SmartyPig’s new bank services provider.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • http://www.sugarfixjewelry.com Kate

    Thank you for your quick response! I’m glad to see SP growing and expanding, but still thinking of the customer. Thanks again!

  • Beth

    Actually, in the Consumer Deposit Agreement that I just read in entirety, it states that BBVA Compass has the right to charge a fee for deposits, and that we should refer to the Service Charge and Fee Schedule, but none is listed. This seems suspicious. I have been more than happy with SmartyPig so far, but I do not trust banking agreements.

  • http://mferrari@smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @Beth,

    Thanks for the comment. I can understand your concerns. Any fees appear in the SmartyPig “terms and conditions” doc, so you can continue to use that as the reference point for all fees. BBVA Compass is charging no new fees. Period.

    Thanks!

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder
    mferrari@smartypig.com

  • Jessica

    Any possibility we might now be able to get online OFX for downloading into desktop personal finance software?

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @Jessica,

    Would like to discuss with you. Shoot me an email at mferrari@smartypig.com. Thanks!

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • beth

    Just a thought — the email you folks sent out about this reads soooo much like a phishing email, complete with a direct login link from the email. Obviously all the images and addresses were legit, but I’m still glad I came here to verify the news, because the email gave me quite a bit of hesitation at first! Aside from that little moment of paranoia, the new alignment sounds like a good deal. :)

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @Beth,

    Agreed. And for that very reason, we will avoid direct login links in the future. Thanks for checking to confirm the news on our blog.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • Will

    Mike,

    Is BBVA open to expanding the competitive 2.15% APY rate to deposits > 50K? This is a big issue for all consumers now in a very scary economic climate.

  • monique

    BBVA Compass is my current bank here in Texas. I’ve been with Compass for over ten years. This is great news.

  • Barbara

    Thank you for realizing that sending an email with a direct login link just screams “PHISHING” email! It sent up all kinds of red flags with me. I feel better after coming directly to the site and logging in. How quickly do we need to make a decision on this?

  • Lin

    Hi, I just got an email telling me “Log in to your account now to authorize this transfer and the opening of your BBVA Compass account”. I just opened SP account a few days ago, and don’t know how to authorize this transfer from my account.I logged in my account and find no tab to authorize the transfer. Please help.

  • Katie

    When I signed in to consent, there didn’t seem to be anywhere to click after choosing the “yes” option button. I can’t even access my account or log out. Am I missing something, or is there a problem with the website?

  • Laura

    hi looks like a fine change to me. I’m having a bit of trouble with allowing the change. I get to this point “Your authorization is required! Please make a selection below:” and I can’t scroll down to see the other selections/and so can’t get past that authorization page.

  • LouL

    BBVA is a bank based in Spain. The current credit crisis in that region does not look good. How can we be assured that, if this spanish bank fails, our deposits will remain safe?

  • Domnick

    I am already a BBVA Compass customer, can i link the account to my existing checking ?

  • Don

    Mike, will we get a confirmation that we approved setting up the the new account with Compass? We also have Compass here in Arizona, btw. I did give my ok, but I don’t see that it was accepted or approved?
    Thanks!

  • Andrew

    The bottom of the authorization form is not displayed on my screen.

  • leslie Knowles

    @Barbara, Beth:

    I agree, I was leery as well, but went to the site via my normal route and all checks out okay.

    @Mike: I would love for Quicken to auto update as well.

  • http://www.godatplay.com God at play

    If “solid footing and a great reputation are the most important aspects of any financial services company in these challenging times”, then wouldn’t that suggest you would _not_ want to work with a big bank? I mean considering the track record of big banks as of late, it only makes sense.

    Unless by that statement you are suggesting that Compass has a more solid footing and greater reputation than West Bank?

  • David

    The first thing I checked when I read the announcement was the financial health of Compass Bank, and I was disappointed when I found out TheStreet gave it a D- (weak financial health) and Bankrate gave it only two stars (below performing). I am curious about your response to this. I know the bank is FDIC insured, but is there anything else that would inspire some more confidence?

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    (Lin, Kate, Laura, Andrew) There were a few users who posted comments about difficulty in the opt-in page upon logging into their account. Apparently the bottom of the opt-in was getting cut off for some users. We have since changed the opt-in page and all issues should be resolved. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you have any issues, please send an email to support@smartypig.com. Thank you.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @Will, not at this time.

    @Don, there is no confirmation. If you would like to confirm, please contact support@smartypig.com. For those that opt-out, they will see an alert message in their user account. And they will also receive email reminders to close their SmartyPig account.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • Kristina

    I’m not sure yet if I want to stay. I would like an option to wait and access my account. August is 2 months away. My concern is that on bankrate.com they have Compass Bank of AL rated at 2 stars and West Bank of Iowa rated at 5 stars. I really need to do some more thinking before preceding. I can’t access any information on my account unless I make a decision now. That is just not right.

  • http://mferrari@smartypig.com Michael Ferrrai

    @LouL, @God at play, @Kristina,

    Although a subsidiary of BBVA, BBVA Compass is a distinct legal entity and stands on its’ own two feet. BBVA Compass is regulated by the appropriate US agencies, and deposits are fully insured to the maximum amount allowed by law.

    And while it is true that Europe is experiencing some financial stresses, BBVA’s Spanish Unit continues to perform extremely well, and has actually seen an increase in customer volume as consumers and businesses alike seek stable institutions to do business with.

    As an important side note, neither BBVA Compass nor BBVA have received any government bailout money in either the US or Spain.

    Larger banks like BBVA Compass, combined with their access to the financial markets are rated by one or more of the three major credit rating agencies – S&P, Moody’s and Fitch. These agencies have access to more detailed information about the company given their “insider” status under Reg FD. Additionally they prepare more detailed and highly complex analysis on rated companies.

    BBVA Compass debt ratings compare very well to other rated companies, their peers and the financial industry. BBVA also compares very favorably and is one of only five banks in the world with a AA rating or higher.

    On a final note, if you are unsure of your decision, simply say “no” now. You can change your mind later.

    Thank you.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • Cheryl

    I’m not sure about this…was so proud to be supporting and aligned with an innovative community AMERICAN bank in West Bank…but BBVA Compass is headquartered in Spain and bought the failed Guaranty Bank in Texas and is NOT a community bank. Just not sure…will have to think on this a bit more, but I sure wish you’d gone with a co-op of U.S. community banks or such instead.

  • Kalpesh

    I know someone about about ability to download transaction via OFX into personal financial management software and the answer wasn’t clear. I would be interested in that capabilities as well. Can you either concur or deny if that capability will be available from BBVA or not?

    Thanks.

  • Kalpesh

    I am definitely interested in downloading transaction into personal financial management software via OFX as well. Can someone concur or deny the availability once the account moves to BBVA? Thanks.

  • Tina C.

    I just want to say that I’m new to SmartyPig and I love it. It’s great that you are located in Iowa. I have been telling all of my friends and family about SmartyPig. You’ve made saving money fun and the 2.15% interest is wonderful. I love ING Direct, but you’ve beat them, too. Congrats on the new strategic alliance. Best wishes on continued success and growth. Tina in NYC.

  • Doug Wilson

    I appreciate the information provided here. I want to stick with Smarty Pig, but the financial well-being of BBVA Compass certainly seems to be a question, as reported in this recent story in the Birmingham News, which calls BBVA Compass “vulnerable” based on a D- Weiss rating.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/stories/2010/05/24/daily7.html

  • Karen

    I’m with Tina and Cheryl. Not sure if I’ll continue my account :(

  • hmmm

    Which entity of BBVA Compass will be holding our SmartyPig funds? It seems different states’ and cities’ BBVA Compass banks receive different ratings of financial health.

  • JD

    I have some questions about the change. They aren’t necessarily for my own sake; they’re just things I think aren’t clear from the email and some people may be curious about.

    1) What is the deadline for answering Yes or No to the authorization question? August 1 or some earlier date?

    2) If I click Yes, am I obligated to not make any withdrawals (via closing my account and withdrawing at least some of the money to another bank) from SmartyPig?

    3) My understanding is that closing an account and withdrawing money in the middle of a quarter does NOT result in the interest accrued since the end of the previous quarter being lost. For example, if one closes an account on Sept. 1, one gets to keep the interest accrued during July and August. Will the switch to BBVA change this in any way?

    4) The email says that if I answer No to the authorization, my SmartyPig account will be closed and the money in the account will be returned to my funding source. When will that happen? And if I used more than one funding source, which one will receive the funds?

    Thanks

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrrai

    @JD

    1) The deadline is July 19th.
    2) No.
    3) No. Interest accrues daily and posts quarterly. When you close your goal, you earn any interest you have accrued up until the day you close. No, the switch to BBVA will not change this. As noted earlier, you should notice no change to your SmartyPig account.
    4) If you select no, you must close your savings goals and your SmartyPig account no later than July 19th. If you fail to do so, your account will be locked and your goals will be closed. Your funds (plus interest accrued) will be returned to your linked checking or savings account.

    Please email support@smartypig.com with any additional questions.

    @hmmm,

    BBVA Compass is not a Spanish bank. BBVA Compass is an American bank and a single entity operating in seven states based and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. For more information, please reference our press release.

    Thanks.
    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • Anonymous

    First you cut the interest rate of your largest balance customers dramatically and now this. Not sure my money will be invested with Smarty Pig much longer.

  • Judy

    I would really like a confirmation from Smarty Pig stating that this has been changed with my account in August. I did sign up.

  • Cheryl

    BBVA Group IS a Spanish-headquartered bank…operating BBVA Compass out of Birmingham and BBVA Bancomer USA mostly in the Los Angeles area. http://www.bbva.com/TLBB/tlbb/jsp/ing/conozca/organi/index.jsp I’m sure they didn’t receive bailout money, as they wouldn’t be eligible as a foreign bank (though they bought Guaranty which WAS a sizable failed US bank that got bailout money).
    BBVA Compass’ 2-star Bankrate rating means “below peer group”…1-star would be lowest rated, 3-star would be “performing”, 4-star = “sound” and 5-star = “superior”.
    Banktracker shows their troubled asset ratio to be 4+X the national average…they have 4+X as many troubled loans on their books. Their CA-operated banks seem to be mostly Hispanic retail-geared. Interestingly, West Bank is also a bit stressed here with 2.5X avg troubled loans and also got bailout money.
    Gosh, the interest is great and I’ve recommended Smarty Pig to a lot of people, but I’m going to bank American and move to VestMatch.com where my funds are held in banks of my choice.

  • Charlie

    Ever since Smartypig concealed a drastic interest rate cut for people with large balances behind the breathless and deceptive headline, “We’re Raising Our Interest Rates!”, I’ve been very cautious about the hidden meanings of their announcements.

    Now we hear that a) we should be very excited, and b) we won’t notice any change, and c) we will have a better experience . This makes little sense to me. There’s nothing about what really went wrong with the previous banking relationship, which we were told all along was very strong.

    I just wish these guys would stop the double talk, and give a straightforward explanation for what’s going on and why.

    By the way, for large depositors, one drawback of Smartypig using a large bank that does business under several names may be an FDIC insurance trap: If you have other funds in that bank, your balances may be combined for insurance purposes, and you could end up with uninsured deposits without realizing it.

  • Margaret Young

    I would like to invest more than $50,000.00 but SP states that my interest rate will drop drastically. Is it possible to open another a/c? Will the 2.15% be honored by BBVA?

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @Margaret,

    Great question. An individual cannot open multiple SmartyPig profile accounts.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • anna

    If I reach my goal of $50,000 and have to close my account, can I re-open another account for @40,000? I would not want to leave money in the account anyway, due to the low interest rate on 50,000+. In other words, if I close one account completely, can I open another one? Thx

  • Christine B

    I’m scared of this change. Will my log in and recurring deposits still occur without any change?

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @Anna,
    Yes. If you close (redeem) one goal, you can open another. Absolutely!

    @Christine,
    Yes. Login and recurring deposits will remain the same. In fact all functionality in your account will remain the same. You should notice no difference from a features and functionality standpoint.

    Thank you.
    Mike Ferrari, co-founder

  • Chris

    Just so everyone knows. Mike if BBVA fails and the government has to step in. What will the effect be? Will anyone lose any money? Will SmartyPig go on with another bank managing the accounts?

    Thanks.

  • Chris

    Anna, I think you don’t understand that there is no reason to close your account to stay under the $50,000. If your goal reaches $50,000 and you close the goal the money would be transferred out of your SmartyPig account back to your regular bank. At that time you could open another goal in your SmartyPig and fund it with any amount you like less then $50,000 and still get the higher rate. You could also do it this way. Before you goal reaches $50,000 create another goal and fund it with the $25 minimum. Then you could transfer say $40,000 to the new goal, and then close the old goal.

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @Chris,
    If BBVA Compass (or any other FDIC insured bank) fails, FDIC insurance will cover deposits up to the maximum allowed by law and we would find a new bank depository. Thanks!

    Mike Ferrari, co-founder

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @All,

    Some of you asked for a visual confirmation after you opted in or out of the future transfer of funds to BBVA Compass. Once you have logged into your SmartyPig account and selected your opt-in status, you will now see an alert message confirming your selection. Great suggestion – and one we were happy to implement quickly. Here is a screen shot of my own personal account as an example.

    SmartyPig: Opt-in status

    Thanks again!
    Mike Ferrari, co-founder

  • Shaun

    I have until July 19th to either accept or reject this transfer, yet I am not allowed to look at my account in the meantime. Why is this? If I have over a month and a half to decide, why am I being forced to give you an answer right away, and I can’t look at my account until I do?

    @Shaun, As noted earlier, you can say “no” now and change your mind later. Thanks.

    Mike Ferrari, co-founder

  • Concerned Saver

    I am quite concerned by this change. I have looked around online, and found numerous customer reports about Compass, with a few happy examples, but mostly really disgruntled customers. For example, see the reports on this site: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/finance/compass_bank.html

    It appears Compass was having trouble honoring the agreements made by other banks they took over. What are your plans to protect SmartyPig customers from similar issues?

    Thank you,
    C.S.

    @Concerned Saver,
    You will continue to be a SmartyPig customer and receive the same excellent customer service you have come to expect from us.
    Thanks. Mike Ferrari, co-founder

  • Marie

    Why is Smarty Pig switching to this new bank? What was wrong with the old one? MM

  • Abby

    Just seconding beth @ 10′s comment that that /really/ looked like a phishing email. Please don’t do that again – it makes it harder for everyone to distinguish legitimate communications from scams.

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @All,

    Please see the blog post above. We have updated the post to include a note from CEO, Bob Weinschenk to provide some additional insight as to our rationale for moving from West Bank to BBVA Compass.

    Thank you!
    Mike Ferrari, co-founder

  • Valerie

    Mr. Ferrari –

    I have been watching SmartyPig for a while and was going to open an account with you all when I saw the information of your new strategic partnership. I also did some investigation on Compass and was dismayed to find that their rating was less than good. I am also dismayed that you didn’t respond directly to @Charlie @Cheryl and @Concerned Savers’ concerns. This concerns me. I love this idea, however…

    Valerie,
    Thanks. I responded to @Concerned Saver in-line. As it relates to comments and questions from others, there were some common themes. I posted a comment to “@All” this morning noting that in the interest of transparency, we’ve updated the blog post above with a note from our CEO that should provide some additonal context. Thanks again.

    Mike Ferrari, co-founder

  • Dee

    Being both a customer & employee of a bank that has been acquired, it is a scary time, but also one that presents new opportunities. When companies join forces, great things can happen! True, it may take a little time, as they compare & choose what products work best for them, but it’s very beneficial, as they get to choose the best both companies have to offer. Every company is at risk for failure…just like many of the companies you work for now or if you are a small-business owner yourself. However, how you handle adversity & overcome it is what matters! BBVA is a Spanish-based company and like many large, Amercian companies, will have their ups & downs. And, if necessary, they will make changes that may affect their customers & employees to survive, but that’s what business is all about. When your customer base supports a company through good times & bad, it gives that company the ability to rebound & pay back their customers & employees with better products & services (in most cases). Sprint is a perfect example. I’ve been with them for over twenty years and have had horrible experiences & great experinces. Even through their acquisitions, I stayed with them because I believed in their ultimate goal. As a result, I have been extremely loyal. I, for one, am looking forward to what this change may bring. I’ve never heard of Smarty Pig, but with this recent change to a bank that is bigger than a community bank, but smaller than a nationwide bank, I’m confident in the path they’re taking & look forward to opening an account with Smarty Pig. I was a Guaranty Bank customer/employee & did not like the acquisition by BBVA Compass (an American bank), as I could not stand Compass Bank’s bad customer service. But, in the last six months, there has been a huge difference in the service that was once previously offered from Compass Bank. They took the best part of Guaranty Bank & are now incorporating that into making BBVA Compass a success! Mike, I appreciate your quick responses to the concerns many people have about this change. If that is not enough of an encourgement to existing customers, then maybe they need to reconsider what the word “loyalty” & “belief” really mean. We owe it to companies that have assisted us in our savings plans to stay during this change & remain positive (after all, our funds are still FDIC-insured). Thanks again!

  • http://www.godatplay.com God at play

    Hey thanks Mike, that’s good info to know. It seems one could answer “yes” to my question about more solid footing/greater reputation.

    But maybe that’s a dicey thing to say publicly. :P

  • HANK

    I would like to take some time to consider whether I want to authorize the transfer of my savings to BBVA Compass or not. I understand I have until July 19 to make a decision. In the meanwhile I would like to have access to my account information and process withdrawals or deposits on the SP website. I was unable to access my account information on the website when I tried to do so today. Please advise me as to how I can access my account information and make withdrawals/deposits prior to making a decision re BBVA Compass. Thanks

    Hank, if you are unsure of your decision, simply say “no” now. You can change your mind later.
    Thank you.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • HANK

    Mike, As indicated by the following copied excerpt from the SP Website, saying No now will result in prompt closure Of my SP account. “No, I do not authorize the opening of a new BBVA Compass savings account in connection with my SmartyPig account. I understand that by saying no, my SmartyPig account will be promptly closed.” I do NOT want to close my account now, but simply want to access it without making a decision. Surely, this can be done. Thanks

    I understand. We should change the text to better clarify. Simply say “no” now and hit “save”. You can change your mind later. Please send an email to support@smartypig.com if you need additional assistance.
    Thank you.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • Jayme

    Hi there. There are just a couple of questions that have come up within the household (we have three SmartyPig users):

    1) Will the transfer of information (personal info and account info) be completely secure between banks? Even if you can’t disclose exactly how the transfer will proceed, it’s good to be reassured that we aren’t relying on pigeons or email ;)
    2) How long will West Bank retain our information? Are they required by law to retain personal and/or account information for a specific period of time?

    I’ve read through the ratings and other information and don’t feel this is as bad as some are making it out to be. I’m also glad Mr. Weinschenk took the time to address the basis of this switch, and I actually look forward to seeing what SmartyPig can do with a larger bank backing them. If nothing else, there aren’t many solid choices out there right now.

    Thanks!

    Jayme, the data transfer will be secure and West Bank is required to retain records for 5 years.
    Thank you.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • william

    Compass Bank (The BBVA is not recognized on the FDIC site) located in Birmingham AL is heavily invested in Derivatives, Swaps, and Restructured Mortages. Is that something to worry about?

    Without knowing exactly what information you are referring to, like most banks, BBVA Compass limits its interest rate risk with interest rate swaps. These are not the mortgage backed derivatives you may have read about in the press.
    Thank you.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • Chuck

    Will the SmartyPig Debit Cards change? In particular, will it still be on the Shazaam FREE ATM network? If it changes, will I need a new card, or just to go to another ATM network to access funds, as there is no Compass Bank Branch near me.

    Chuck, we’ll be sending out an email to all debit card holders shortly. Please be on the look out. Thanks!

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • ed mccabe

    i opened my sp account in january. ive since been jerked around like a hot potato as to interest rates, balances, ownership, deadlines etc. in the space of months. the aggravation factor has become a prime consideration. im leaning against extending this frustration without a compelling vision of the future of this merry go roud.

    Ed, thanks for the note. As a startup, we will continue to enhance SmartyPig. And with our recent growth, a move to a new bank was absolutely necessary as Bob detailed in the blog above. If there is one thing we’ve tried to do, is be incredibly transparent and proactive with our customers. I’m not aware of any financial institution who provides such a competitive interest rate (currently we are about 2x ING Direct), transparent access to executive management, and a blog that allows open dialogue with their customers. In the end the decision is ultimately yours. A decision that should you choose to go elsewhere comes with absolutely no penalty to you. Our vision is simple. We will continue to listen to our customers and create innovative products and features that will benefit our core user base. I love getting emails from our customers. I receive 10-20 emails/tweets/facebook posts daily about how to make SmartyPig even better. This is exactly how we will continue to grow our business. We hope you share in this vision. If not, we wish you the very best and as always, encourage you to continue to save.
    Thank you.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • http://www.sweeneycopywriting.com MikeCopywriter

    Mike, congratulations on finding such a suitable partner to guarantee SmartyPig’s future growth. The fact that you take customer service so seriously by responding to all these comments is impressive too. You guys are great and you’re definitely my savings bank of choice.

  • Tired of it

    I tried to check my account, but was stopped by the notice that I had to agree immediately to stay or my account would be immediately closed. Not wanting to have my account closed immediately, I stopped. I wrote to tech support & was told that I could click “no” & get access; the account closure would not be immediate I did so. Now you barrage me with daily UNfriendly and innaccurate email insistence that I “must” close my account “now.” This poor communication and bullying has made my decision easy. You don’t want my business. The obnoxious daily emails pushed me over the edge.

  • Kristina

    Now that I have said no on the screen to gain access to my account, I am getting emails every day with the headline that says “You must close your SmartyPig Account now.” These messages are annoying and quite unnecessary. At the sign in screen, you should have had three options:

    1. Yes, transfer my account to Compass.
    2. Maybe, I’d like more time to decide if I should switch to Compass. If I do not change my answer to Yes by July 19th, my account will automatically be closed and funds will be transferred back to my originating bank account.
    3. No, do not switch me, please close my account now and transfer funds to my originating bank account.

    Then you could send nice reminders once a week to those who have not decided saying … Please transfer your SmartyPig Account to Compass by July 19th…..

    then explain the rest in the email.

    The way you are going about this is really bad for business. I had only been a customer for little over a week when this change came about. I don’t like being treated this way. You can address things in blogs, but you need to improve your overall strategy. This email does not make me want to stay as a customer. It actually offends me quite a bit. If it were not for the interest rate you are offering, I would have already jumped ship. At this point though, I’m researching other options rather than looking for reasons to stay.

  • Jayme

    Thanks so much for your reply, Mike! I’ve already accepted the transfer for my account, but I still wanted to relay those questions so that we could be certain. I really appreciate your effort here =)

  • Joe

    I agree with comment # 67, please stop the annoying Email. Your blog is great but the site and constant Emails are annoying and deceiving.

    Joe

  • Joe

    Ammendmet to comment #69. Sorry I blogged to soon, the site is a lot clearer now, as to the time line and when the accounts will be closed, but its seems that the Emails to close the account keep on coming.

    Thanks
    Joe

  • edmccabe

    are they planning on keeping interest rate the same or is this too speculative a question? does sp determine the rate or the new bank, thanks!

    Great question. And one I have heard a number of times. There has been no discussion to lower the interest rate on Auguat 1. Like West Bank, BBVA Compass believe in a competitive interest rate. That said, the bank controls the interest rate and can change the rate at anytime without notice.
    Thank you.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • Danny

    Great to hear! I live in Birmingham and have been a Compass Bank customer for nearly 20 years, and they have been fantastic. No fears, anyone.

  • Nate

    When will you have Quicken downloads available? OFX or similar? All my other banks currently offer this. I like to be able to keep track of my savings all in one place and that’s the best way to do it.

  • Terence

    Bob & Mike:

    Great blog! Helps a lot with my understanding and comfort-level. Two points:

    1. Innovation is great, but FDIC insurance and a high interest rate are the reasons many of us deposit at S’Pig. When you capped the rate for funds over $50k, many of us were forced to shift money between goals and close some goals to get our total below that limit. So, if you can find an FDIC-insured deposit bank that pays the same rate over $50k, please consider raising that cap….you would get more deposits and more savers.

    2. Bob wrote, “BBVA Compass is a U.S. based bank headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama ….and have a parent company headquartered in Madrid, Spain with deposits of over $765B in deposits and 48M clients….they have never received any bailout from any government, and operate with a strong balance sheet.” True, but irrelevant.

    And Cheryl wrote, “BBVA Group IS a Spanish-headquartered bank…operating BBVA Compass out of Birmingham and BBVA Bancomer USA mostly in the Los Angeles area. http://www.bbva.com/TLBB/tlbb/jsp/ing/conozca/organi/index.jsp I’m sure they didn’t receive bailout money, as they wouldn’t be eligible as a foreign bank. BBVA Compass’ 2-star Bankrate rating means “below peer group”…Banktracker shows their troubled asset ratio to be 4+X the national average…
    Gosh, the interest is great and I’ve recommended Smarty Pig to a lot of people, but I’m going to bank American and move to VestMatch.com where my funds are held in banks of my choice.”

    As a taxpaying citizen, I’m against mega-bank bailouts, but I don’t base my savings on that..or even on “troubled asset ratios” or Bankrate stars. I only look for FDIC insurance and a high interest rate with minimum hassles and fees.

    That said, who owns Compass Bank-USA or their financial health is IRRELEVANT, since the owner (BBVA Group, Spain) is under no obligation to rescue its US bank….which is not a branch of the Spanish bank, but a wholly separate entity and which can fail without intervention by its Spanish owners. Only the FDIC must intervene. Remember that rate of return correlates with rate of risk.

    So to me, the above is mostly noise and I will remain a Smarty Pig customer (up to the $50,000 limit) and will encourage others to join (for the 2.35% interest rate and FDIC-insurance). Thanks, Bob & Mike, for the innovation that provide those benefits.

    T.

  • bill o

    I am already a Compass customer and considering joining the the Smartypig family–how does this impact my membership?

    overall, we have been pleased with Compass’ banking services since it took over from Guranity Savings.

    bill and pat O

  • Beth D.

    I just read the updated info and all I can say is “Thanks!” I’ve never dealt with a bank that is as straight-forward and helpful as SmartyPig. At first I was leery to switch to the new bank, but now I fully trust that if the pig looked into it, it has to be great. Thanks for the info and keep up the great work!

  • charly garcia

    is rhere a bbva at modesto california???? please answer urgent